Most people know this, but there is a device in the Senate called a filibuster. It was made famous by Jimmy Stewart in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, but the way it works today is very different. If a 60 member super majority of the Senate does not vote for Cloture, the measure fails, end of story:
(DailyKos) — Republican after Republican has stood on the Senate floor today, mouthing the same old saws we’ve heard over and over: the harm that will be done to small business, the “pitting Americans against each other” argument (that’s rich, coming from Republicans), the “job creators” arguments. It’s a gimmick, a waste of time, and it will raise just a “meager” sum of $47 billion. Of course, if it were $47 billion being cut from education, or from Medicaid, or from food stamps, Republicans would be crowing about their “signficant” deficit reduction. It’s all a matter of which side of the ledger you’re talking about.
God-eh forbid a billionaire would have to pay the same tax rate as his lowly secretary’s secretary.
Lo these many blog years ago, the same GOP was threatening a nuclear option, one that would have ended the filibuster. They felt the democrats were using it too much to stymie God fear’n wealth-loving gun-toting legislation. That’s rich considering what they’ve done since.
I’m proud to say, back when the nuclear option was being threatened, Markos came right out and said fine, do it, and convinced me and many others that that would be a good thing overall. His reasoning was its undemocratic, it enables all kinds of influence peddling and backroom shakedowns, and sooner or later saner people will carry the house and senate. He was absolutely right and I wish the GOP had done it. Then they’d have been held more accountable for the things they put in place that pissed everyone off, and crashed and burned, and we’d have much better policies in place over the last several years, starting with healthcare reform and ending with the Buffet rule.